HONG KONG, 21 June 2022:
One of Hong Kong’s most famous tourist attractions – Jumbo floating restaurant – capsized and sank in the South China Sea just days after it was towed from Aberdeen harbour, public broadcaster RTHK reported.
The restaurant was towed from the spot it had sat for 46 years on June 14 and was heading to an undisclosed location.
No crew members were injured in the accident, according to RTHK late yesterday.
Its parent company, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, said in a statement last night that the vessel encountered adverse weather conditions near the Xisha Islands (also known as Paracel Islands), which led water to enter its hull.
The restaurant later capsized and sank despite the efforts of the towing company to rescue it, the statement said.
It added that the depth of the water in the area where the incident occurred – more than 1,000m – makes it difficult to salvage the vessel.
The restaurant, with a capacity for 2,300 people, was one of the most famous landmarks of the Aberdeen harbor area, on the south coast of Hong Kong Island.
It was built in the 1970s at a cost of HK$32 million – but it had been closed since 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions badly hit the tourism sector of the former British colony.
Its parent company had announced earlier that vessel would be towed away for maintenance and storage.
Both the autonomous region of Hong Kong and mainland China have maintained strict control measures at the borders, which have been closed to travellers for two years.
Although Hong Kong began allowing the entry of international tourists in May, they still have to undergo a minimum seven-day mandatory quarantine at their own expense at designated hotels.